Once upon a time, milk was a very popular beverage that was delivered in bottles to front doors by a friendly man wearing an all-white uniform and bright smile on his face. Not that I was alive during those times, but I’m big into history and my grandparents showed me pictures to prove it.
Milk was looked at as a necessary commodity that families of two to 10-plus could not do without on a daily basis. Turn the clocks forward several decades and milk has all of a sudden gotten maligned for one reason or another—some of which are valid and others a bit sketchy.
In walks these containerized liquids known as “milk alternatives.” Standing tall and proud at the top of that list is almond milk. In reality, it’s more like almond juice than almond milk due to its less viscous consistency.RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
Regardless of what you call it, almond milk, along with many other alternatives, was created for people who have a beef against regular milk. The motivation to choose it over cow’s nectar usually derives from an allergy, intolerance, moral issue or because someone in fitness class drinks it and they said it brings more benefits to the cereal bowl than regular milk.
Here is the truth. If you are in fact lactose intolerant and become violently ill when you drink cow’s milk, then almond milk is definitely better for you! I think that’s pretty much common sense. But let’s reverse the roles for a second. What if you have an undetected allergy or intolerance to almonds and you choose to replace regular milk with almond milk because you think it’s cool?
Well, the best case scenario is, you’ll end up with hives, maybe a bit of a scratchy throat and a little bit of an upset stomach. However, in the worst of cases, you will go into anaphylactic shock and be rushed to the hospital.
I didn’t mean to scare you. I was just trying to make a point, which is this… If you know for a fact that you cannot digest or tolerate milk, then yes, obviously it would be more beneficial to drink almond milk. But if you think you’re going to get in better shape or be healthier or lose more weight by drinking almond milk, you will be sadly disappointed.
Don’t get me wrong, there is not a thing wrong with almond milk. It’s lower in calories, fat and cholesterol than regular milk, it contains a modest amount of calcium and vitamin A, and it blends well in smoothies. The only problem is, almonds do not have a high amount of calcium or any of the other nutrients normally found in regular milk so they are added to the blend.
This is a process called “enriching.” If you look at a container of almond milk you will most definitely see the words “Enriched with…” and any number of nutrients listed after that.
Additionally, if you are looking for a high protein beverage to replace milk, you won’t get it with almond milk. It usually has one gram per cup AND it’s not a complete protein. Since regular milk derives from an animal, it is a complete protein, which simply means all the essential amino acids are present.
Here is the take-home message. Aside from almond milk being a good alternative to regular milk, it’s not going to work magic on your body. From strictly a nutrient-density perspective, you’d probably be better off with regular milk. But all and all, just choose the one that works best for your body.